tv John King USA CNN November 4, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT
know the wrap was the cia didn't know theoviet union was going to collapse. and actually some of it shows that they did have indications that something was going to happen. >> that's going to be great material for historians down the road, i am sure. gill, thanks very, very much. fascinating stuff. that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." the news continues next on cnn. good evening. tonight, live in des moines, iowa, five republican presidential hopefuls near the city tonight, here for a big state republican dinner that raises the curtain on t60-day sprint to the election cycle. the candidate dominating the headlines, herman cain. earlier this evening one of the women who says cain sectisexuald her issued a statement through her lawyer saying there was more than one incident. >> she made a complaint in good
faith about a series of inappropriate behaviors and unwanted advances from the ceo. she and her husband see no value in revisiting this matter now or discussing it further publicly or privately. in fact it would be painful to do so. >> the fact there are multiple complaints tell me it's more likely than not there was some sexual harassment activity by this man at that time. >> georgia businessman, he's in washington, he said nothing about the allegations that threaten his cam pin but mr. cain was in his trademark playful mood as he spoke earlier to a conversation gathering. >> before i get started, i want to know whose telers are these in i don't need them. >> several other new developments we need to share. the came campaign, threaten sue
the website that first published the allegations. launching a new tv ad, blaming liberals and the news media for stirring talk of scandal and suggesting race is a factor. >> they can't argue with herman cain on the merits. they can't argue with herman cain on policy. so what do they do? what do they do? >> now we're getting the high-tech lynching of a beautiful man, herman cain. >> what is known as the mainstream media goes for the ugliest racial stereotypes they can to attack a black conservative. >> also tonight, the first national poll conducted since the allegations first surfaced. if you think the lured headlines and mr. cain's fitful response are causing political damage, well, think again. at least for now. "the washington post"/abc news poll shows cain in a dead heat with mitt romney. among the republican contenders nationally.
not that they're there aren't some warning signs for cain. 4 in 10 republican voters say this is a serious matter. and while 7 in 10 say it will not influence they're decision whether to vote for cain, 23% say the allegations make it less likely they would back cain. and in a crowded republican field, any doubts can hurt. here in iowa, you hear some questions, and sense some doubts, in conversations with conservative activists. but near will a week into the drama, evidence of any major negative fallout is hard to come by. cain rival rick santorum could benefit if evangelicals get doubts about cain and look elsewhere. but listen to this conversation i had with the former pennsylvania senator earlier today. >> i got to tell you, it has not come up in any of meetings that i've had. i just did 20 town hall meetings in the last five days and most of those days this was an issue. i didn't get one question on it, didn't get one comment on it. so i think people are sort of
keeping their -- keeping their own counsel, just going to work through it themselves, and continue to focus on trying to make sure that we have the best person who can turn this country around and, of course, defeat barack obama. >> i also sat down today with iowa's veteran republican governor, terry brandstead, he had this advice for mr. cain. >> i think it's important for him to directly and forth rightly address the issues that have been raised there, and i think iowans are fair minded people. if he does that he can put that behind him. but i do think it's important, i don't think you can just ignore it. >> more on the political failout in a moment. let's dig deeper on the new information we have. brian todd joins us washington, d.c. tell us what you know joel bennett, attorney for one of the alwa accusers came out today. what do you know about her? >> reporter: what we know, john, about his client, the accuser in question here, that is she is
married for 26 years, that this incident happened in 1999 and she and her husband really want to be anonymous from this point on. they don't want to discuss this matter publicly or privately. those are some of the details that he gave about his client. he didn't want to go further than that. significant points of this, as you alluded to earlier, john, one, he came out on behalf of his client, mr. bennett did, said she stands behind the claim she made against herman cain. second point, as you mentioned, there was, at leaf at the point of view of mr. bennett and his client, more than one incident involving herman cain. the wording of the statement, series of inappropriate behaviors, plural, unwanted advances from the ceo. significant that mr. bennett is saying there was more than one incident. but what we don't have, john, specifics. we do not know what happened in these alleged incidents. and we're not hearing that from mr. bennett. his client or any of the other alleged accusers here, of course
not hearing that from mr. cain's side. what we did get in a little bit of detail some response to this from the national restaurant association. part of a statement they issued read, in july 1999 mr. ben net's client filed a clants associati the policies. herman cain disputed the complaints. the soev yassociation entered i agreement without admission of liable. mr. cain was not a party to the agreement. herman cain this week strongly disputing these allegations against him, john. >> brian that is the one client, mr. bennett represents. you're learning new information about a second woman who suggests mr. cain behaved inappropriately. what can you tell us. >> reporter: that's right. we spoke to a former employee of the national restaurant association who knows the
accuser. the second accuser, not mr. bennett's client, a second accuser, came to the employee's office on the day this accuser left the national restaurant association, the accuser said to this employee, that she was not getting along with her bosses, that she was leaving and receiving a severance, and this employee says that he believe that severance was between $32,000 and $37,000 because it was a year's pay. accuser said, essentially that they are not giving her any work, they were not interacting with her after this alleged incident. and she left the company after that. so just a little bit of color on what one accuser told a fellow employee as she was leaving the national restaurant association, after allegedly filing a complaint. >> brian todd with new details on the breaking news. let's turn to gloria borger and jeffrey toobin. gloria, i want you to listen to more of mr. ben threat, one of
biggest headline his put on the table his client says there was not one but more than one incident that made her uncomfortable, made her believe mr. cain was sexually harassing her. let's listen to mr. bennett. >> the fact there are multiple complaints tells me that it's more likely than not that there was some sexual harassment activity by this man at that time. all of that subject to proof. he would be allowed to rebut all of them, and i -- but the fact that there's more than one complainant is meaningful. >> dramatic words from mr. bennett, but hi made clear in the case of his client one of the women, she is not going to speak. if she's not going to speak, does that lead you to believe we're going to turn the page and this story will pass, or is there more to come? >> i think she would like us to turn the page. she clearly wants to reman a private individual, she doesn't want to become aneat ta hill. there are a lot of people who know who she is and at some
point, he seemed to allude to it today if it happens kind of so be it. because the story remains unresolved. what the national restaurant association did not tell us is how they resolved their own internal investigation. mr. cain has come out at the national press club earlier this week and he said it was concluded that the charges had no basis. we don't know that from the national restaurant association's statement today. they did not talk about any kind of a settlement. what they did say was the matter was settled without any admission of liability there are lots of questions and charges flying around. i think mr. cain would like this to go away. she would like this to go away but i'm not sure it will. >> this is argued not in a court of law, not in front of a mediator but argued in the court of public opinion. i want to listen to more of mr. bennett. one of the source of contention from mr. cain saying she signed
a severance agreement, terminated employment, in his view, that agreement had little or nothing to do with sexual harassment. mr. bennett begs to differ. >> a severance agreement is when someone's leaving employment and there's an agreement to pay the person a certain number of months of salary for whatever reason. it could be just because the person is leaving that's very common in companies that are having economic problems that have severance policies, unrelated to any misconduct or performance issues. this was a settlement of an internal complaint of sexual harassment. it was not a severance agreement. >> a clear difference of opinion, mr. bennett, jeffrey, wanted to make that point. does it matter? >> i don't think any of this matters much at all. i think today was a very good day for herman cain. i think these announcements amount to very little. and in a way are unfair to herman cain. how is he supposed to defend
himself? there are still no specifics. still no allegations that he did something specific wrong. and if this is the most that is going to come out, as now is starting to appear likely, i think it's pretty much over. >> you know, john, what's interesting is that it's clear the restaurant association says that it gave this woman the opportunity to waive all confidentiality. and instead, what her attorney said is that they just waived confidential so they could release the statement. but the statement leaves open all of these questions and i agree with jeff in the sense that what's cain supposed to do now? right? unless somebody puts a face on this, and a specific charge, it's very difficult. >> i think cain does what he's doing, which is running for president. he seems to be doing that pretty well. >> he also, his campaign is saying he might sue politico. i'm not sure there are any
grounds to sue politico, if you want this to go away, legally it's a question mark whether he has a case. politicly, why do you want to keep talking about this? >> it's part of their theme of blaming the liberal media, the media's out to get me, that's a theme that resonates well in the republican party generally today. and you saw that in the ad that they put out on the web. i don't think they're going to sue politico. politico's story is -- has not been challenges for its accuracy. it doesn't tell the full story. they didn't have the full story, but no one says anything they wrote was inaccurate. i am just, frankly, amazed at how the story is just fading away. if this is as far as it goes. >> jeff toobin, gloria borger, appreciate your insights tonight. mr. cain is not one of the republican conditions for a big dinner tonight. what will be the fallout in iowa? is he as some say on this issue and others this cycle's teflon candidate?
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mixed message for abortion, quick sand but cain leads in iowa and south carolina. he's changed his tune on negotiating with terrorists suggesting an electrified fence along the u.s./mexican board somewhere was unaware china has had nuclear weapons to more than four decades. a question asked, his herman cain this cycle's teflon candidate, so likeable and different that traditional political critiques don't stick? here's iowa's governor's take. >> i think that's right. somebody that's been in politics for years and years and years, they expect them to know all of these things. but he's new. he's a novice. and i think a lot of people are looking for something different. they're not happy with obama. they're not happy with the direction this country's going and they're not happy with the congress. they're looking for somebody new. >> let's dig deeper with cnn
contribute somewhere veteran strategic, donna brazile, billie tucker, and the republican party chairman, matt strong. i want to ask you first, after a week of this, is mr. cain, who is leading in our latest poll, lead agent top of the des moines register poll, is this hurting him? any worries about the allegations or how he's handled them? the first thing he knees to do, debt here be and in iowa. that's within thing that it gives iowans or americans an opportunity to look a candidate in the eye and ask tough questions and time has shown that that is how you actually win the iowa caucus, whether it's on a personal issue or a political issue, there's an expectation that you're going to give here and give an everyday american voter a chance to ask a question. >> the first national poll out, all of the polling down after the this first surfaced, do the allegations make you less likely to vote for him in among women 25% yes, men, 12% yes.
7 in 10 say it doesn't matter. 25%, women voters do you see potential for a problem in a close republican race or do you think we're turning the page and this is behind us soon? >> right now, john, it's just an -- a misanonymo anonymouanon. it's gossip, that's how we look at it in america. until we have a story and a real person come out, we're going to keep loving on herman cain. >> and so, donna, how -- why don't -- let me ask it, why don't -- i don't mean the sexual harassment allegations why don't traditional rules apply to herman cain? he's at america's prosperity, a conservative group in washington, gets money from the coke brothers they put a lot of money into conservative causes, some conservatives think they're great because of what they support, in politics you don't
generally embrace people controversial, listen to herman cain. >> i'm very proud to know the coch brothers. they've made it sound like we've had time to go fishing together, hunting together, skiing together, golfing together. but just so i can clarify this for the media, this may be a breaking news announcement for the media, i am the koch brothers' brother from another mother. yes. i'm their brother from another mother. >> how do you explain that? he's got a sense of humor, give him that. >> john, if this was a primary, herman cain would win hands down but it's a primary for the presidency of the united states and i believe that on a cold wintry night in january, 60 days from tonight, the people of the
great state of iowa will go into living rooms, union hall, church basements and decide who is best to be commander in chief of the united states of america. and i don't know if herman cain will come in first place or come in fifth place but i do know this, his brand has been tarnished by these allegations and perhaps the way he's handled the allegations. perhaps conservatives don't treat sexual harassment as discriminatory, unwelcomed advanced in the workplace, but it's wrong. it's morally wrong. it's wrong in the workplace. so herman cain right now, he is doing a great job being herman cain. but the question really, to people like -- to billie, should he become the commander in chief or should he just get a guided tour of the white house? >> well, billie, answer that question. people supporting him because they like him or because he's commander in chief? >> they support him because a a
proven leader a great businessman, he's not a politician. people in america are looking for somebody that's lived the american dream and somebody is fresh and new and that's what herman cain brings to the table. >> do you agree with that in the sense if you look at tradition of polling here, a lot of time people are ahead 60 days out do not win caucus night. one of the questions people have for mr. cain, he's not an elects office hold, people are disgusted with politicians now, are people -- there's a holding station because they like him or do they support him firmly? >> there's a group that supports him firmly. this week i talked to a 20-year navy vet, he's supporting herman cain because he's said, quote, he's not like the other guys, he's a leader. there's new people that he's brought in that aren't going anywhere but traditional activists like the thousand we'll have here in des moines, those are the people that want to kick the tires more and an expectation they'll see him and get a chance to ask questions personally. >> you have a commitment for him to come back or waiting to hear?
>> an open invitation any time he wants to come back. >> good luck with your event. billie, donna. tonight's number a source of frustration for millions of americans. with so much attention on herman cain, maybe you haven't noticed another republican suddenly in a position to impact the gop presidential race. former speaker of the house, newt gingrich, joins us live. is this a chevy volt? [ stu ] yeah. it's electric. i don't think so. it's got a gas tank right here. electric tank, right over here. an electric tank? really, stu? is that what you pour the electricity in? it's actually both, guys. i can plug in and go 35 miles gas free, or i can fill up and go a whole lot farther. is that my burger? oh. i just got bun. i didn't even bite any burger. ♪ ♪ ♪ when the things that you need ♪ ♪ come at just the right speed, that's logistics. ♪
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number 9. >> right out of the old beatles soundtrack from the "white" album and the number nine has nothing on this night to do with the tax plan. you see that right there, national unemployment rate tick down to 9% in october, down from 9.1% in september. mostly, though, because americans are giving up, not because of any big jump in job growth. the labor department reports only 80,000 new jobs created last month, about half as many as in september. nearly 14 million americans are unemployed. today, political leaders from both parties called that unacceptable and went on to say, pretty much the same thing. >> unemployment figures in this country are still way too high. >> today's job report underscores the need for immediate action. >> unemployment is way too high. congress is going to need to act. >> this week the federal reserve chairman ben bernanke warned congress things won't get dramatically better any time soon.
predicts an unemployment rate in the mid to upper 8s through next year's election. >> we expect economic activity and labor market conditions will improve gradually over time the pace of progress is likely to be frustratingly slow. >> up next, latest on a late night political drama in europe that could have a big impact on your bottom line. ♪ [ male announcer ] what is the future of fuel? the debate is over. ♪ lexus hybrid drive technology is designed to optimize any fuel source on the planet. even those we don't use yet. because when you pursue perfection, you don't just engineer a future-proof hybrid system. you engineer amazing. ♪
welcome back. live in des moines, iowa. the latest news you need to know now. though it's past midnight the parliament is getting ready for no confidence vote or frm george papandreou of greece because of his handling of the debt crisis. president obama back to the g-20 summit after telling reporters it laid a foundation for building financial stability in europe. jitters about europe and pessimism about the u.s. economy pushed the dow lower today. this afternoon the white house lawyers rejected a congressional committee subpoenas for documents related to the clean energy company solyndra, the white house calling it a significant intrusion on executives that had an interest of being driven by partisan politics. a general lost his job for making disparaging comments about afghan's leaders, saying some afghan leaders are isolated from reality.
herman cain isn't the only georgians making big headway in the republican race. state by state, there's an unmistakable trend. newt gingrich is moving up, still in the second tier, he's changing the race a few months after most reporters and many of his rivals wrote him off as a nonfactor. speaker gingrich, live with us tonight before a big republican dinner here. good to see you. >> great to be here. >> look at the numbers, abc news/"the washington post" poll, your choice for republican presidential nominee, september, you were at 6%. now you've doubled that to 12%. go to the quinnipiac poll, a national poll, newt gingrich in august, 3%, on the 1st of november, 10%, why? >> i think substance, debates have made a huge difference, one we did with you made a huge difference. people like rush began saying i was the adult in the room and people watched and some of my colleagues began bickering, and i think the bickering really
shrank them. and i also think people are worried about jobs, they're worried about the deficit, worried about infantafghanistan having somebody with experience who has done this stuff before i think has made a difference. >> debate in june that you mentioned in new hampshire after your staff had quit and i was making the joke with others before you came on the air, you had to be the john mccain, you had to die before you could live. anything to that? >> i think it actually was ultimately, it was painful at the time, it helped us to sort out what we're doing, why we're doing it, this is a much better campaign for having gotten through the summer, and i actually feel that we've got a very good base to be competitive in iowa, new hampshire, south carolina, and on to florida. >> i want to spend our time on the substance but talk a bit about herman cain. you call him a friend. you've criticized the media for its handling of the story and if you pick up the newspaper here, jennifer jacobson, before the -- she said were something to arise
during the campaign to lessen herman cain's appeal romney would be the biggest beneficiary, but gingrich is next. he would get 23% of cain defectors. so on the one hand you could benefit from mr. cain struggling. on the other hand what do you make of his handling of the controversy. >> he's a good friend, he had to slow down, take a deep breath. about you never been hit by the national press corps, it's a discore yenting experience. he's got to sort it out. we'll see how he does. he and i are debating in houston, should be a lot of fun, on entitlements, medicare, medicaid, social security. i like him. he's had the courage to have big ideas. it a very hard business. and it should be. this is the presidency of the united states, and you should -- if you can't get through the cap campaign you sure can't govern. >> his campaign's complained the allegations are out there without specificity and then
pointing the finger perry's campaign did this. perry told me he has nothing to do with this. >> i'm not going to get in the middle of all of that. i'll let herman sort out what he's doing now. >> policy, governor perry wanted to bump plans with cain on taxes you said how about me in governor perry, i had a conversation with the governor last night. here's him making the case, his flat tax plan is the best plan to create plans for the country. >> my 20% tax, i think, says it all. give everybody a flat 20% tax rate, give them those deductions that we talk about, those above 500,000, they don't get those deductions, but 20%, corporate tax rate, bring that money back in from offshore that's sitting out there, that's being taxes at 35% today, tax it at 5.25%, that will create over 3.5 million jobs. >> why is your plan better than
his plan? >> let me start and say, as people watch this, you got 9-9-9 with cain, a big idea, i don't think it works but it's a big idea. perry with the flat tax. outlier here is romney, who is very, very cautious and very, very much a managerial approach as opposed to a bold approach. my flat tax eight 15%, his is at 20. my corporate tax rate at 12.5%. his is at 25. i have zero capital gains for everybody. he caps it at 500,000, which i think gives in to class warfare in a way that makes no sense but it's not a bad plan. steve fors and other experts have helped him do it. i have a lot of respect for him doing it if you looks at it you'd say i'm bolder and a little more growth oriented than he is but deserves respect. it's a serious plan. >> and a serious time, as we have this conversation, you heard me reading headlines, president obama's on his way pack to the g-20.
he says they made significant crisis in the european debt crisis. if president gingrich made that trip, what would your message have been to the europeans? >> i have no idea because the total lack of involvement by the obama administration is astonishing. i don't know that they made any progress. as you shows the greek parliament's voting on a vote of no confidence. everything i see says the greeks are substantially away from getting their house in order. whether or not they can even stay in the european union or stay in the euro zone, rather, i think is a question right now. the italians are in deep trouble. i think this president has consistently failed to understand economics. and i see -- he done understand the american economy, why would we expect him to understand the europeanen economy? >> about 100 hours from now we could be having a conversation about a tense world. the international atomic energy agency will come out with its latest report on the iranian nuclear perhaps. israelis test fires a ballistic missile this week. if the report says iran is back
about the business of advancing its nuclear program, prime minister netteanyahu might laun a preemive strike. >> we would say we want to replace the iranian administration. the dictatorship is dangerous it will always be dangerous. our interest is to have a post dictatorship government in iran and i would use all of the tools that reagan, attacher, pope john paul ii used again the soviet empire, and i would work meth methodically to undermine and replace the current dictatesership. >> if a nervous netanyahu said, i agree with everything you said, i don't think i can wait. >> i wouldn't. if the prime minister of israel, comes to the conclusion that the survival of his country's at stake, the idea that an american president's going to second guess him, you know, two nuclear weapons is a second holocaust. you put a nuclear weapon over jerusalem, a nuclear weapon over tel aviv the total number of
people you kill is the equivalent of a holocaust and i don't think any american can ask israelis to pass everybodily sit there, allow a mortal enemy who said publicly, ahmadinejad said publicly that he wants to eliminate israel, i think the lesson of history is, people who say things like that you better believe. >> you're going to leave us speak to the reagan dinner here in iowa tonight. you're one of five candidates at the moment. i think krur in fourth place. romney, cain, ron paul, newt gingrich. 60 nights from now, where will newt gingrich be in iowa? >> i'll be in the top three, hope to come in first. definitely want to be in the top three. >> we'll count the days. still to come tonight's truth is a sad lesson of the internet age. more of the new worries at the pentagon over one of the united states' close effort allies attacking one of its most dangerous opponents.
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"erin burnett outfront" coming up at the top of the hour. erin joins us with a preview. how are you? >> i'm doing well. i see you have snow. i hope you have a little heater there. we're talking about what was, well, distinctly bad weather though the rainy sort, of course the gchl-20 meeting in france. an action plan was agreed to but will it be enough? see the two men, barack obama and nicolas sarkozy? an incident happened today.
the french are very upset about something that the president of the united states said to the president of france. and i think it will shock you. so we are going to get to the bottom of that. we simply cannot resist it. plus, with the merchant of death getting convicted this week, the russian arms dealer trafficking in weapons to al qaeda to kill americans we looked into one of the most trafficked weapons in the world, we found a woman who -- the woman who is responsible for capturing this arms deal somewhere she is our special guest tonight. we have all of that coming up at the top of the hour. stay warm, john. >> fascinating. can't wait to see that. we'll see you in a bit. now wherries at the pentagon a senior u.s. military official telling cnn the u.s. is becoming concerned israel might now be preparing to strike iran's nuclear program. let's go to our pentagon correspondent, barbara starr. we hear this talk, what about the fees ability? how likely, how possible? how capable is israel of launching an effective strike? >> reporter: they can launch a
very effective strike. we hear this talk a lot. it seems to go in cycles. within theory the israel c.s are ramping up the rhetoric they want to see the united states and allies react with more diplomacy, more sanctions on iran. i asked a senior military official are you worried israel's getting ready to strike? and he said, absolutely. that is not a word you hear around here at the pentagon very often. so what would a strike look like? well, you know, it's likely that israel would use a combination of manned aircraft and its ballistic missiles. but it's going to be very tough business. they have to cross arab airspace, those aircrafts swroul to refuel. they have to get past iranian air defenses, and it puts israeli pilots at great risk over iranian airspace. bottom line, the u.s. does not want to see this happen. it would be an economic, a business disaster, put the shipping lanes, oil shipping
lanes in the persian gulf at risk and cause unrest in the region and around the world. nobody wants to see this happen, john. >> and, barbara, you make that point with emphasis, nobody wants to see this happen at the pentagon. they have tabletop exercises contingency plans for in case. the shipping lanes and the xhibl turmoil and the military tensions that would come to the region like that if this were to happen. what is the sense inside the pentagon of what the u.s. responsibility would be the day after? >> reporter: you know, you're absolutely right. the u.s. military has, as they say, they got plans for everything. and that would be the problem. the key issue is if unrest were to develop in that region, it is likely that it would be the challenge for the u.s. military for the navy to keep those shipping lanes open. it would be expected that iran's reaction would be to try to shut down the strait of hormuz. don't make too much of it, but it's interesting, right now the u.s. navy has two aircraft
carriers and 30 warships directly in the region. that's a bit of a plus up. usually they manage to keep one carrier there. everybody's saying don't read too much into it. but it's just pretty interesting to note. john? >> i guess interesting, nice, i'm not sure what the right word is, to have resources in the region. barbara starr, thank you. let's continue this conversation about the diplomatic stake, the military stakes and the politics with republican strategist nancy if autenaur and the former state department spokesman, p.j. crowley. p.j., i want to start with you because of your experience in government. if the administration, white house, pentagon are concerned this would happen and the report comes out on tuesday, take us behind the curtain. what is secretary of state, the national security adviser doing now to convince the israelis calm down? >> well, of course, there's been some conjecture around the israelis about whether this is
in fact a fact or whether this is just something, it's a rumor that we have heard before. we have had conversations with the israelis about this issue. we've shared the broad concern that the trajectory of iran is very concerning to the united states, to saudi arabia, others in the region. and we have also understood that while military action is a very important and potential course of action, there are significant downsides to this. even the targeting, do you retire a nuclear program? if you hit it but don't end it do you make it inevitable? there's a curious and shaky rep between the iranian regime and the iranian people. you make that regime more popular in the eyes of its own people. compared to what newt gingrich said earlier, regime change doesn't necessarily change the calculus inside iran. this is a program that is attached to iran krian national. it's popular with the iranian
people. these are calculations at the strategic level. you have it take into account as you evaluate how to do this, recognize that military action sometime in the future may well be necessary. >> and so, nancy, as we watch to see what israel's decision is, watch to see what the iaea reports and watch to see how the obama administration would react we are in this political environment. you heard the former speaker newt gingrich saying he would hope it would not happen. but if the prime minister told him he would do this, if he were president, he would say go ahead. i sat down with rick perry and he was concerned with this. listen to how aggressive he is in giving israel a green light. >> we're going to support israel. we will support israel in every way, whether it's diplomatic, economic sanctions or overt or covert operations up to and including military action. we cannot afford to allow that mad man in iran to get his hands on nuclear weapon, period.
>> even if started a war in the region? >> we cannot allow that mad man to get his hands on a nuclear weapon because we know what he will do with it. >> that's republican candidate rick perry, the texas governor last night. nancy, listen here, the former senator from pennsylvania, rick santorum, sounding much the same today. sounding much the same today. >> if honduras was to develop the nuclear weapon, had said things that they want to wipe the united states off the face of the map, would the united states sit and do nothing? i don't know of anybody here in this country that would say, well, we should let them continue to develop that weapon with the government that has made pledges that they want to destroy our country. we would act pre-emptively, and israel has the right to do so and i would support their right to do so and i think it would be appropriate if iran was close to getting that capability. >> nancy, in the middle of a campaign what goes on in your own debate room? i was going to call it a war
room. that's a poor choice of words tonight. obviously, you're not the incumbent president of the united states. you want to weigh in on issues of the day. that's pretty tough language from both of those republican candidates. >> well, it is. but it's also not that different from some statements that president obama has made. i'll get into what goes on inside a campaign when something like this happens in a minute. but president obama has also said that obviously if israel -- if israel believes that they are facing a definite threat then they have to make up their own minds about how to protect themselves. but inside the mccain war -- the mccain campaign, i won't say war room, i guess, it was very different than i think other candidates and in other republican presidential campaigns from my observations. because, you know, senator mccain had such a high level of knowledge. he had a very sophisticated and deep foreign affairs advisory staff. he was on his strongest, you know -- in his strongest case, or in his wheelhouse on foreign
policy. i don't necessarily see that among any of the candidates, including the president. i don't think we've seen a president who has felt like -- or where this is his strongest suit either. so whether you're talking about domestic policy, economic policy, or whether you're talking about foreign policy, i think we've been through a very difficult few years. >> p.j. crowley, when you're in the government in the middle of a campaign, does the criticism or suggestions in this case from the opposition help, hurt, or make no difference? >> well, i think this is obviously an issue across the political spectrum. everyone recognizes the potential danger of iran. and the difference between now and two years ago is centrifuges have continued to spin. there's clearly, you know -- iran continues its efforts to, you know, to build this enrichment capability and the distance between a civilian program which iran does have a right to, although it's outside of its responsibilities under the iaea.
and a military program that distance becomes shorter. so as we go through this, this is a great concern. so i think it is perfectly appropriate across political lines to recognize the danger this provides. i think nancy makes a very good point that ultimately the united states and israel, although they have consistent and overlapping interests the prime minister of israel will make his own decision based on the national security needs of his own country but we will continue to work with israel as with the rest of the international community. everyone, not just israel, not just america. saudi arabia, the region, the world. they recognize this danger, the trajectory, and are working earnestly to try to stop the progress that iran is making. >> the other thing, the other point i think is really relevant here, though, is we have lost a little bit of our bargaining ability. you can't have it both ways. you can't say we're pulling out of the region and say particularly we're pulling our air capabilities out of the region and then expect to have as much ability to impact
outcome. you just can't have it both ways. >> and no one's pulling out of the region. we're pulling troops out of iraq. we're not -- >> p.j. crowley, nancy pfotenhauer. thank you very much for coming. we'll continue the conversation. when we come back, iowa is a special place. retail politics they say always matters here. is that still true? that's tonight's truth, next. ♪ for spacious skies ♪ ♪ for amber waves of grain ♪ ♪ for purple mountain ♪ majesties ♪ ♪ oh, above the fruited plain ♪ well, now, wait a minute ♪ i'm talkin' about ♪ america ♪ sweet ♪ america
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successful here a candidate has to visit time and time again and meet the voters at their farms, small businesses, or in their living rooms. but here's tonight's truth. the path to success here is very different now than it was, say, back in 1976, when iowa helped launch jimmy carter from jimmy who to the presidency. now, iowa is not immune to the age of the internet and the 24-hour cable news cycle. and while retail politics still make a difference, you can make your mark here without camping out here. tonight is exhibit a. there's a big state republican dinner and there are five candidates for president speaking. but not the two atop the iowa pack. herman cain and mitt romney. talk about an affront to tradition. two candidates who are almost avoiding iowa are leading iowa. contrast that with the saga of rick santorum, the former pennsylvania senator, is following the traditional iowa playbook. he just finished visiting the last of the state's 99 counties. his reward? he was at 4% in the polls in june. 5% now. still, i spent some time with
the senator today. he promises to be this cycle's iowa surprise. >> our 5%'s solid and building. and we feel like we've got a great grassroots team here. we've spent the time. people have kicked the tires. and we feel a buzz out here. we know that our campaign's going to do much, much better than those polls indicate. >> if there is a big surprise this year, emphasis on if, conservative activists in this state do say keep an eye on senator santorum. but the current lay of the land suggests the character of the caucuses is changing. governor romney, just six days here in 2011. mr. cain has been here 36 days in 2011, nowhere near as much as santorum or congresswoman michele bachmann. i remember meeting iowa governor terry branstead in my first presidential campaign. 1988. fast forward to today, my seventh cycle, and branstead again is governor and has a message for romney and cain. >> they need to be here more if they want to maintain a leadership position. otherwise, it could be lost very quick.